NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 – Baldev Chager navigated by Ravi Soni in a Kabras Porsche 911 is the overnight leader of the 2018 Top Fry Classic Safari Rally which revved-off in Nanyuki on the eve of Good Friday.
Chager, a three-time former Kenya champion, took control of Day 1 proceedings after winning the opening long and grueling stage at Naibor which was a great endurance run and a quite scintillating way for the Flying Singh to start his campaign.
Chager clocked 2:18.39.3hours to open a 4.58minutes lead over Carl Tundo who was incidentally the winner of the second stage at Dol Dol.
Although Chager was beaten by a mere 6 second by “Flash” Tundo in the 54.92 Dol Dol stage, he clung to the lead with a comfortable lead. Porsche’s Alastair Cavenagh is placed third while Geoff Bell of South Africa teaming up with Tim Challen of Kenya in a Datsun 240Z is lying fourth.
Chager clocked 1h36m08.8s on the opening Naibor stage where he beat defending Champion Raaji Bharij (Porsche) by a 1.40seconds margin. Tundo could only return fifth in the opening stage at Naibor.
But as purists say, it’s still early days and anything unexpected can hardly be ruled out as the star -studded rally wears on.
Ian Duncan navigated by Ammar Satch in a Ford Mustang didn’t finish the opening stage at Naibor after running into gremlins.
It was a bitter pill for the 1994 WRC Safari Rally winner (Duncan) to swallow just after he had rested his Ford Capri and resorted to his other make of Ford (Mustang) which found the going not as rosy on the opening day.
Last year’s winner Bharij started off first on the ramp navigated by Rajey Sehmi in a Porsche 911. Bharij is lying fifth.
Bharij, a former Pirrelli star driver, was followed by five-time ARC Safari Rally winner Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo, South African Geoff Bell and the legendary Duncan.
Crews will resume the rally today before taking a deserved rest tomorrow. The last two days will see crews tackle some historic stages around Baringo area.
The second event ever of this kind will be situated within the Laikipia County on the opening two days and head to Baringo in another two days of hair raising thrills.
The Rift Valley 1000 Classic Rally is set to be bigger and better than 2016’s event, with over 1,500kms of competitive track, running over a 5-day period, through uniquely stunning expanses of Northern Kenya.
Other drivers taking part in the event include the legendary Jayant Shah who incidentally is a former three time Kenya champion but based in Tanzania.
The Top Fry Rally is one of the three events introduced to the 2017 KMSF Motor Spots Calendar with a possibility of running a full championship next year.
DAY ONE LEADERBOARD
- Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni Porsche 911 (KEN) 2:18.39.3hours
2..Cal Tundo/Tim Jessop Triumph TR7- (KEN) 0;23.37.3
3.. Alastair Cavenagh/Gavin Laurence (KEN) 2:26.52.1
4.. Geoff Bell(RSA) 2:27.17.5
- Raaji Bharij/Rajay Sehmi Porsche 911 (KEN) 2:28.18.4